Old School Marketing in a Digital Marketing World

By Ashlee Dixon, July 13, 2017

Not too long ago, I was walking outside of Walmart and per usual couldn’t remember where I parked. As I looked around for my car, I noticed every car had a piece of white paper on their windshield.

I thought how in the heck am I going to find my car when they all have these obnoxious white things on them?

Turns out the paper was a news flyer for a boutique down the street. I hadn’t seen a flyer in who knows when. Remember when that used to be a thing? When you’d step outside and see several flyers all over your car?

But then I began to think, without this flyer there’s a good chance I wouldn’t have known this boutique even existed. So, I got in my car and I headed over to see this “once in a lifetime sale.”

And you know what, I’m happy I did.

The point is, we’ve been so distracted by this “new digital marketing world” that we’ve forgotten all about old school marketing: flyers, newsletters, bulletin boards, and business cards.

Related Post: 6 Trends That Will Drive Digital Marketing in 2017

Instead of shunning those old school methods, they can complement our current digital marketing campaign efforts. Let me show you how to combine them and get the best of both worlds.

Technology on Paper

Speaking of those loose flyers, have you ever seen a QR code formatted on one? They’re a great way to incorporate old school and new school marketing.

What are these ‘QR’ codes?  The coolest piece of technology that isn’t actually technology. Think of them like a scannable barcode.


Source: Divahound

Let’s use the boutique example above. If the flyer had a QR code printed on it, all I’d have to do is whip out my handy smartphone, scan it, and I’d be directed to their choice of marketing exposure (e.g. website, photos, demos, videos, business app). You could even have a QR code direct them to an interactive game that supports your business. How fun would that be!

QR codes on paper material is an easy way to direct consumers to your digital marketing world. And the greatest part: the QR code doesn’t need to be restricted to a flyer. It can be used on billboards, merchandise, business cards, marketing collateral, anywhere your advertisements are placed - sometimes even on buses and trains. The options are abundant.

Interactive Business Cards

Business cards are far from extinct. To put that in context, here’s a little story.

On the weekends, I’m a server at a college campus restaurant. So of course, the first few questions a table asks are: What’s your major, what year are you, what do you plan to do after graduation?

Usually, I respond that I’m actually a year post-grad, and work at a digital advertising company in Middletown, Delaware.

Related Post: PPC, Calls, and Display: Choosing the Best Method For Your Business

Last weekend I had this exact conversation with one of my tables. When I said ‘marketing’ the woman immediately made eye contact with her husband. She rummaged through her purse and handed me a small business card. She explained she works for a makeup/skin company and asked if I would consider writing for her.

Honestly, I’m not very diverse in the makeup industry. Concealer, highlighter, bronzer, say what? But I told her I would check it out after my shift. And I did.

Instead of handing me an old school business card, hers featured a twist. Gone were the name, title, and phone number. Instead, featured were her website along with social media accounts, similar to this BeachRiot example. 

Business card.jpg

Source: DolcePress

She took an old school type of marketing and added a little twist to it that resonated with me. I was more willing to check out her product and business on my own, than to call or email her.

Related Post: How Colors Affect Your Marketing

Business cards are easy and convenient. You can whip them out at any occasion, but make sure you’re giving them a little spice and intwine your digital marketing, too.

Promotional Handouts

The owner of the restaurant I work for is a pro at melding old school and digital marketing skills. Here, at Caffe Gelato’s host stand, you’ll find one of these handy promotions:


See what they did there?

They use an old school promo handout to offer an incentive: free gelato when you follow their Instagram account and share a picture with the hashtag #caffegelato. And by getting the customer to try the gelato, there’s a good chance they’ll order a serving of the sweet treat next time, too.   

However err on the side of caution with incentivized promotions. Although they’re a great way to market your product, sometimes brands go a little overboard with the promotions and giveaways.  

Related Post: 3 Ways to Avoid Being a “Thirsty” Brand

Don’t forget to keep a level head when promoting your product.


Now take it back old school style with a dash of digital to earn the most from your marketing campaigns. There’s always going to be new trends, and by mixing the old with the new, your business will reach its full marketing potential.

Old school.gif

Source: Giphy

After all, look at Power Rangers, an old school movie that made a comeback by taking a splash in the new social norms. A perfect example of how the two can work together.

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Ashlee Dixon

Ashlee Dixon

Ashlee is the former Content Writer and Digital Specialist for eZanga and its ad fraud management platform, Anura. She is a graduate of the University of Delaware, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English. On weekends, you can usually find her curled up next to her cat and watching Netflix with a glass of wine in hand. More Articles by Ashlee Dixon